INTERVIEW: Memphis LK launches her solo career - "This song reminds me to listen to my intuition because, without fail, it is always right."
Memphis LK first came to attention in 2016 as one half of electronic duo Saatsuma. She has now launched a solo career and at the end of March released her first single ‘Speak Honestly’, a mesmerising, trance/electronica track with a unique and compelling music video. We recently caught up with Memphis to find out more about her music.
Hi Memphis! How is everything in the world of Memphis LK?
It’s good! It’s real! My debut single and video are both out, which was massive, and a huge relief. I’m working on finishing off the EP before I go overseas in May, and also getting my live show ready. It’s a full on but exciting time.
‘Speak Honestly’, the debut single from your new solo project was released a few weeks ago, can you tell us a little about the inspirations behind the track?
I made this song during a time where I was feeling really ungrounded and uncentred. I had a lot of self-doubt and wasn’t speaking my truth. I tend to get really influenced and affected by external factors that I end up overlooking or sacrificing what’s really important to me. So this song is basically to remind me to be true to myself, to trust myself, to back myself, and listen to my intuition because, without fail, it is always right.
How different is the creative process now you are a solo artist?
I’m way more productive and motivated, probably because I know I’m only accountable to myself so there’s a bit more pressure to get shit done. Creatively, I’m trying things I never felt I could in the past. Having complete creative freedom is so incredibly liberating. I’m learning so much. At the same time, the self-doubt is real. Having no-one to validate or critique what I’m doing is hard, but it’s made me realise how many people I do have in my life that I can go to for support and feedback. It’s also making me realise how important it is to just fully back myself and know that if I like something, it’s probably not shit, and probably is shit hot.
Was there a particular vibe or sound you were going for with ‘Speak Honestly’?
Ever since I started producing, I’ve always wanted to make dark club bangers, and always have on the side but never did anything with them. This is me exploring that fantasy further but maybe with a little less dankness and a little more softness. The music I’m creating at the moment is definitely more club-oriented than my previous work, which just comes down to the fact that I love house and techno and acid and garage – that’s the music I love listening to so that’s the music that inspires and infiltrates my work.
Can we expect an album or EP from you this year?
Yes, my debut EP is coming later in 2019!
What artists are you listening to at the moment?
Four Tet, Marie Davidson, Bicep, Floating Points, The Future Sound of London, Avalon Emerson, Daniel Avery, Roza Terenzi, Luke Vibert, Tirzah, Peggy Gou, ASA MOTO, Ross from Friends, Okay Kaya, Solange, serpentwithfeet, DJ Krush.
You are also a DJ and are passionate about the technology that creates electronic music. This has traditionally been a male dominated space, what advice do you have for young women who may be interested in treading a similar path?
I sound like a broken record but it’s so important – BACK. YOUR. SELF. The industry is cooked and will try to make you feel small and make you feel like you can’t do it on your own. But you’ve got this. We may have to work harder to be taken seriously, to be listened to, to justify our place. But that hard work only makes us stronger and better and more fiercely passionate and driven to do what we love and do it with fucking power and grace.
There has been a lot of talk and commentary around gender equality over the past year or so. What are your thoughts on sexism in the music industry?
It exists in every facet of the industry, no debating that. And it’s not just sexism, it’s transphobia, it’s racism, it’s islamophobia, queerphobia, classism, ableism. The only way we can keep making progress is by continuing to calling out shitty behaviour when we see it – with movements like #metoo there’s more momentum now than ever before – and by supporting minority groups however we can. Those of us who are working within the creative industry can prioritise working with female, trans, non-binary, women of colour, refugee and first nations artists – get them to help produce/mix your music, book them at your shows, make sure your venue/event is accessible and have support systems in place to ensure their safety, create visual content with them, employ them to do your publicity. The more we can do this, the closer we’ll get to equality, in the music industry and globally.
What else can we expect from Memphis LK in 2019?
Lots more music! And live shows. 303 acid bass lines. Cute outfits. And slime.